Donald Valentine, the founder of one of Sequoia Capital, one of the most famous venture capital investment funds, died at the age of 87. Today’s tech giants like Apple and Cisco have grown on his fund’s money.
He was one of the “generations of leaders” who founded Silicon Valley, and a true embodiment of the American dream. Valentine grew up in a family of a milkman studied chemistry at not the most prestigious University of Fordham. His first job was the military-industrial company Raytheon, where Valentine was a sales manager.
- He began investing in technology companies before the foundation of his fund when he worked for the chipmaker National Semiconductor. Now this company would be called a successful techno-startup. “I started working for a silicon company before I even came up with the phrase“ “Silicon Valley,” he joked later.
- Valentine launched his foundation in 1972, and quite quickly it became one of the most successful and sustainable companies in the valley. “The key to a successful investment is to assume that something is wrong with the past, and to do something that was not part of this past, is something completely different,” he said in 2013.
- These were not just words: Sequoia Capital really invested in nascent industries and high-risk ideas that few believed in. In the early stages, he invested in hundreds of top technology companies, including Cisco Systems and Apple Computer, which Valentine wrote a check for $ 150,000 in 1978 – although, Forbes quoted Valentine as saying, Jobs smelled strange and “looked like Ho Chi Minh.” According to Vedomosti, the fund was going to invest in Pavel Durov’s TON project.
- Valentine is considered to be ironic about his work. On the boards of directors of companies that received money from his foundation, he pulled out documents from plastic binding and returned it to the directors with the words “these bindings are worth the money, spend it on something really useful.” According to another legend, if interns who came for an interview at Sequoia asked where the toilet was, the company manager accompanied them. A quarter of the dollar was put into one of the urinals, and if the intern took the money, they refused him: such a person did not correspond to the spirit of the company.
Sequoia hardly needs an introduction: it’s one of Silicon Valley’s most famous and profitable venture capital firms. Here is just one example: after the Venture XI fund closed in 2014, revenue was 41% per annum (minus a commission), or $ 3.6 billion.
- In addition to Apple and Cisco, the fund invested in Google, Yahoo, PayPal, YouTube, LinkedIn, Dropbox, Airbnb, WhatsApp, Instagram and dozens of other startups – it is not surprising that it is called the “factory of innovations”, and the fund’s partners regularly occupy the top lines in the Midas list Forbes.